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Dan Gookin takes center stage tonight on network game show

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | February 23, 2021 1:00 AM

The Hollywood spotlight will shine on a local politician tonight in an episode of the hit ABC game show “To Tell The Truth.”

Dan Gookin — who, among other accolades, sits on the Coeur d’Alene City Council — participated in the episode back in December. The premise of the show, which is hosted by “black-ish” star and seasoned game show host Anthony Anderson, pits celebrity panelists against three strangers, one of whom holds a claim to fame but all of whom tell the same backstory. The celebrities then try to guess which stranger is telling the truth.

Gookin and his two anonymous compatriots were quizzed by Tom Lennon of “Reno 9-1-1” fame, “Independence Day” star Vivica A. Fox and world-renowned entertainer Alfonso Ribiero, whose acting career skyrocketed with the role of Carlton in the '90s smash sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

“Alfonso Ribiero was so sweet,” Gookin said. “I believe this was his first time on the show, so he was taking it very seriously. He was really trying to give his best effort on it. And afterward, he went out of his way to thank each of us individually.”

While “To Tell The Truth” is considered a game show, its label is misleading: The show is panel-driven and doesn’t come with monetary winnings like traditional game shows. But Gookin said the celebrity panels and the circumstances of trying to spot a “hero” truth-teller is what generates the fun of the show.

“Nobody’s trying to win money,” he explained. “The celebrities are there to generate laughs. That’s the whole point of it.”

Gookin traveled to Burbank for the filming, which followed strict COVID-19 protocols. The Coeur d’Alene resident had to get tested for the virus before he left for California, and again once he arrived. He said masks and social distancing — particularly with the celebrities — were strictly enforced.

“One of the producers told me, ‘Ordinarily, the celebrities and the host would join the contestants and do a big group hug and mingle afterward,’” Gookin said. “Unfortunately, that couldn’t happen because of COVID … But it was still nice to sit there and say, ‘There’s Anthony Anderson. There’s Tom Lennon. There’s Vivica Fox. There’s Carlton.’ It was a lot of fun.”

“To Tell The Truth” airs tonight at 8 p.m. Pacific on ABC.